Twice was nice when friends and family of Grace Mylroie Patz toasted her for turning 100 at two celebrations in December. She was born on Christmas Day in 1913 in San Diego.
Grace received special recognition from Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy during the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Guild holiday party at Lakeside Golf Club on Dec. 11. Then last Sunday some 200 guests gathered at Lakeside for a birthday lunch bash hosted by Grace’s family and the Laureate Kappa Xi Sisters of Beta Sigma Phi.
“All I can say is thank you God for all you wonderful friends, neighbors, relatives — you have made my life what it is today,” Grace said. “I love you all dearly and may your life be as happy and as long as mine. God bless you all!”
Grace’s sons Jim Mylroie and Gerry Mylroie and their families attended Sunday’s party as did Grace’s step-daughter Bonnie McConnell and her family. Bonnie and her daughter, Jessica, made the centerpieces, which included framed pictures of Grace and bouquets of Gerbera daisies, roses and Stargazer lilies in pink and white.
Granddaughter Lara Infuso read her grandmother’s biography touching on such highlights as Grace becoming a member of Job’s Daughters as a young lady and, while attending the University of Wyoming, joining Kappa Delta Sorority. Then in 1935 Grace joined Beta Sigma Phi and has remained a member for 78 years.
“While in school she worked in the family’s bakery and at the First National Bank for 25 cents an hour,” Lara said. “She would actually cut sheets of money with scissors.”
Often asked what is her grandmother’s secret to longevity, Lara tells people good genes, luck, and love and support of friends and family, but the true secret is what’s up here, pointing to her head — determination, a zest for life and a positive attitude.
Grace and her first husband, Robert Mylroie, met while they were attending the University of Wyoming. They were married in 1938 and had sons Jim and Gerry while Robert served in the Army at bases in the United States from 1940 to ’45.
In 1946, after Robert completed his service to the country, the family moved to Cheyenne, Wyo. Robert died a few months later in an auto accident. Grace moved with her two young sons to Burbank to be with her sister, then in 1954, she built a home here where she continues to live.
She worked at Challenge-Cook Bros. Inc., as head of personnel in payroll for 20 years and put her two young sons through college. In 1974, a friend introduced Grace to her brother, Del Patz, and they married that same year. Grace next worked for Reynolds and Reynolds Data Processing, retiring in 1981.
One of Grace’s passions has been her volunteer work, said her granddaughter. She was the first president of Gamma chapter of Beta Sigma Phi in Laramie, Wyo. She is now in the Laureate Kappa Xi chapter based in Glendale and is a past president. In 2011, she received Beta Sigma Phi’s International Award of Distinction, its highest honor.
Kitty Lopez-Rice, who is president of the Beta Sigma Phi Glendale Area Council, is most impressed by Grace’s positive attitude and all she has accomplished in her later years.
“Grace was 90 when she became president of the Beta Sigma Phi Glendale Area Council,” Kitty said. “It is remarkable that a woman of that age has so much stamina.”
In 1968 Grace joined the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Guild. Over the years Grace has given more than 15,000 hours of service to guild projects. She has been president as well as served several turns chairing the annual Spring Event. She has also been parliamentarian and chair
Julie McArdle joined the guild in 1992 and, she said, Grace became her Guardian Angel, volunteering her for any and all committees.
“She even got me to be the Spring Event chair my second year in the guild!” McArdle said. “Us redheads stick together!”
McArdle is amazed by how sharp Grace remains.
“She is handling 600 reservations for the guild’s upcoming Spring Event and knows who to sit with whom,” she said. “Combine this with her phenomenal yoga abilities, and always looking like a million bucks, at the ripe young age of 100, is there any wonder why we call her Amazing Grace!”